If you were a Republican in Washington, D.C., on the evening of November 8, thinking about the years ahead, glorying in Donald Trump‘s victory, and savoring the fact that you were now about to control both houses of Congress and the White House, you probably chuckled thinking about how you were finally going to get to take down Obamacare. You’d spent seven years promising to do so, and now you had the power. Your base was demanding it, your new president got elected (partly) on it, and your leadership had bloody well banked their political fortunes on it.
Well, you failed. Miserably. Despite all that control, you couldn’t even get a “skinny” version of your repeal-and-replace bill through Congress. Tonight, as everyone knows by now, the Senate Republicans failed to pass Trumpcare, foiled by nay votes from Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and, surprisingly to many people, John McCain. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scored a massive own goal on this one. If he’d done a proper count earlier in the week, he could have skipped the vote to move forward, and tonight, he could have avoided the final vote on the actual bill, and saved himself and his party the ignominy and the political fallout of failure on this singular, key issue. Meanwhile, Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller, already facing a tough re-election 2018 bid, surely screwed himself this evening by voting yes in a lost cause. The safe money now is that he’ll lose his seat next year. And for what? The bill failed. What in the hell does Sheldon Adelson have on him, anyway?
So, congratulations, Republicans. You bet it all on getting rid of Obamacare, even as every credible poll showed the American public supported it, in spite of all its warts. And, hey, Donald Trump: nice leadership. I’m sure you’re quite tired of all the winning by now. Is it time to go play golf yet?